Wildfire season has officially ignited this month and here is a Sit Rep for all of the fires that have broken out this week.
We have also included some additional news stories and resources to help those who are training and purchasing equipment for wildfire activities.
SPENCER CREEK FIRE — Fire personnel and equipment were dispatched through the OLS Dispatch Center (Olympics) today at 17300 hours to the Quiliceene area for a grass and shrub fire.
As of this time of post, there is an IC Mann on the scene. In the Wildcad.net system, this incident is shown as an uncontained and active scene. An open incident as of March 18, 2023, 2111 hours PT. Incident #OLS-4
Update as of 3/18/203 2230 PT: Firefighters from Brinnon FD and Quilcene Fire Rescue were on the scene of this wildfire at 1700 hours, which is located at Spencer Creek Road under some power lines. First-due firefighters reported a 150×150 spot fire, which had slow forward progression with six-foot flame lengths before the fire reached the tree line, which prompted them to egress quickly. They will remain on the scene throughout the night mopping up operations and putting out hotspots. No cause is known at the time of this update but the Brinnon FD Chief is asking those who may have information to contact their department with details or tips. DNR is the investigating agency. | Photo Credit: QFR
WA DNR | PROVIDING FUNDING TO VOLUNTEER FIRE DISTRICTS FOR PPE
With fire season on its way, DNR is now providing funding to volunteer fire districts to aid in the purchase of personal protective equipment and other supplies. See if your fire district or department is eligible here:
Source: WA DNR https://www.dnr.wa.gov/FireDistrictAssistance
ASOTIN COUNTY FIRE — The first major wildfire of the season broke out in the County after a local homeowner was burning weeds out of roadway drainage culverts and caused the fire to become out of control. The incident located was located about seven miles west of Clarkston in the Silcott Hills area.
Firefighters were dispatched from the Asotin County Fire District #1, where the first due Command Officer arrived and reported a large wind-driven fire moving north and south with different fire flanks. Additional resources were ordered from their own fire district, along with mutual aid from the Cities of Clarkston and Asotin. A helicopter (Hillcrest Aviation) was requested and assisted with drops.
Chief Hardin with ACFD1 said it is uncommon to have a wildland fire this early in the year, but conditions were just right for quick-fire growth. He said dry surface fuels, wind, and low humidity all aided in rapid-fire growth.
There were no injuries reported to civilians or firefighters as being reported. Though the fire quickly spread, it was held to a maximum containment of 20 acres. Resources were on the scene for approximately three hours. | Photo Credits: ACFD1
CONWAY FIRE — Mount Vernon Firefighters provided automatic mutual aid to the Skagit County Fire District 3/Conway-Cedardale FD on Saturday, which is the second brush fire of the day, located just outside of Conway. The cause is unknown. Fire crews were able to hold it at a one-acre fire. | Photo Credit: MVFD
LITTLE MOUNTAIN FIRE — A 40×40 spot fire ignited from an unknown cause at the base of Little Mountain within City limits. Firefighters and equipment were automatically dispatched from Skagit Fire District 9/Big Lake Fire Department for this fire. This is one of two fires the MVFD responded to on Saturday, March 18, 2023. | Photo Credit: MVFD
SANDBAR FIRE — A wildfire ignited on Wynecoop Cayuse Road, prompting resources to be dispatched through the WA DNR NEC Dispatch Center at 1900 hours. The grass fire was said to have scorched 36 hours but would be contained thereafter additional resources arrived. It was contained at 1820 hours. The incident occurred on March 14, 2023. Incident #SPA-1019 PA P5WH (1522)
TRAPLINE FIRE — A wildfire named the Trapline Fire, ignited in the 8800 block of Trapline Line in the NDC Dispatch Center’s area sending out resources at 1514 hours PT. The fire would eventually be in patrol status on the same day. It was held to 3.31 acres. The incident occurred on March 8, 2023. Incident #NWS-3 221-HEB.
VIEW RIDGE FIRE — The View Ridge Fire incident began operations on March 17th (St Patty’s Day), prompting the PCS Dispatch Center to deploy additional resources at 1448 hours PT to the Onalaska area in Lewis County. Resources E2401, 2403, and an IC are showing were dispatched. Fire fuels included grass, brush, and timber/understory. It was contained on March 17th at 1600 and controlled at 1800 hours. About 3.25 acres were destroyed. It remains in patrol status. Incident #PCS-14 221-EDZ.
Photo Credit: MVFD (Conway Fire)
WA DNR PROVIDES FUNDING TO VOLUNTEER FIRE DISTRICTS
WA DNR has a program it’s main purpose is to provide fire district assistance to local and rural fire districts in Washington state, the opportunities to establish, develop, improve, and maintain their wildland firefighting capabilities.
These programs can make several types of training, equipment, and other assistance more affordable to local fire districts by using available funds and resources, which may vary from year to year.
DNR Surplus Engine Program – Deadline closed.
Volunteer Fire Assistance Funding – Phase I opened on March 1, 2023
This program allows for funding for purchases of PPE and general equipment. The program is administered in two phases annually. See the below link on grant deadlines, funding criteria, and if money is available.
Volunteer Fire Assistance Funding – Phase II, III – check the link for current funding deadlines
1168 Grant Programs – Computer Grant Application – Opening May-June 2023
DNR intends on awarding 55 fire districts/departments up to $4000 to be used toward computer equipment and/or computer-related equipment. This Grant will be awarded through a scoring process based on information provided through the application process. The funding for this grant will be dispersed soon after awards and there will be no match requirement.
Training Grant Application – Opening June 2023
DNR intends on awarding 40 fire districts/departments up to $10,000 to be used toward wildland fire training, including, but not limited to; travel, meals, training materials, and applicable course fees. The funding for this grant will be dispersed soon after awards and there will be no match requirement. This grant opportunity will be first come first serve.
Source: WA DNR. Website: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/FireDistrictAssistance?fbclid=IwAR1Wkae0N3qmpjzyEvblrhyiGkmtefe8X_Wz1srt7lJ1INMz_qGofPzhQfI
Photo Credit: MVFD (brush fire on March 18, 2023)
POLITICIANS TRYING TO SOLVE A BIG WASHINGTON WILDFIRE PROBLEM
House addresses increasingly dangerous wildfire seasons
March 6, 2023
OLYMPIA – The Washington House took major steps to address an increasingly dangerous wildfire season this week as Rep. Larry Springer’s HB 1578 passed unanimously through the House of Representatives.
“Wildfire season continues to get worse,” said Springer. “The smoke lingers for weeks and causes health problems, it costs taxpayer money to equip our brave firefighters and smoke jumpers, and too many families live through the nightmare of losing a home or business. This bill puts systems in place to better plan, prevent, and respond to fires. The people of Washington deserve to have this issue addressed.”
The bill requires the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to make assessments of areas at high risk for wildfire every 10 years, beginning July 1, 2025. DNR will also be required to work with local entities to devise evacuation plans and other public safety precautions and add them to emergency response plans. Additionally, DNR will partner with these local entities to incorporate smoke readiness into community resilience programs. The last piece of the legislation requires DNR to establish a Post-Wildfire Debris Flow program by July 1, 2024, and a structure for a state-sponsored burned area emergency stabilization and response team by December 30, 2024.
“This is the world we’re currently living in,” said Springer. “Our fire situation is only going to get worse if we don’t act. These steps are crucial to addressing the fallout that most affect the everyday lives of residents.”
The bill passed unanimously and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
(c) 2023 NW Fire Blog